International acclaim for VOP


Radio Voice of the People Radio(VOP), the only independent radio station in Zimbabwe, has won the One World Special Award sponsored by the BBC World Service Trust, for an overseas media project that has made a unique contribution to human rights.

>The Zimbabwean radio station that has survived bomb attacks, police raids, arrests, frequency jams, and an impending court case, has been honoured for being the voice of the voiceless under trying circumstances.

Despite repressive media laws, which have seen foreign correspondents deported, and all non-government-sanctioned media banned, Radio Voice of the People (Radio VOP) broadcasts a daily programme, providing a lifeline for up to half a million listeners hungry for information they can trust.

Each day, the independently funded station broadcasts a one-hour programme in the country’s three national languages – Shona, Ndebele and English. As well as providing news and debate, including the exposure of human rights abuses, the station covers health and education, especially around HIV/AIDS.

Members of the Radio VOP team, including director, John Masuku, made a special trip to London to collect the award: “In its lifetime the station has been criticised, threatened and jammed but what drives us on is the belief in giving a voice to the voiceless – giving the people of Zimbabwe an opportunity to speak freely about issues that affect their lives and country. This award provides huge encouragement to us all. Thank you”, said Masuku.

The ceremony was hosted by Channel 4 News’ Jon Snow, a steadfast supporter of the awards. In his keynote speech, one of the world’s most influential economists and leading authority on development, Jeffrey Sachs, explored the media’s role and responsibility in addressing the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), aimed at sharply cutting poverty levels by 2015.

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